Richard Jones, head of general merchandise at Sainsbury's, has left the retailer to join rival Tesco in a sourcing and range development role.

The defection will be a blow to Sainsbury's which is keen to expand its non-food business. Jones set up the retailer's clothing business TU and would have played a key role in building Sainsbury's non-food ranges.

“Our strategy for non-food is in place and we are well down the track in rolling out those plans,” a Sainsbury's spokesman told the Financial Times. “We have a great non-food senior team in place with key hires from major competitors in recent months.”